Cost-Cutting Proposal not Sensible, Says Todt

Ferrari team chief Jean Todt believes the agreement between the nine other teams on the grid to limit testing in a bid to save the British Grand Prix is not worth the paper it is written on.

Cost-Cutting Proposal not Sensible, Says Todt

Ferrari team chief Jean Todt believes the agreement between the nine other teams on the grid to limit testing in a bid to save the British Grand Prix is not worth the paper it is written on.

The proposal to limit non-Grand Prix weekend running to 10 days during the season came after an emergency meeting at the Brazilian Grand Prix to which Ferrari were not invited.

And Todt said: "We need to identify solutions where we can really reduce costs but I'm sorry to say that what was presented is not sensible. This paper, you can just throw it away.

"I don't think it's very professional. We are in favour of reducing costs, but when you are taking a situation, you must do it without reacting in an emotional way, but in a pragmatic and logical way.

"Last Friday there was a vote from the Formula One Commission determining what Formula One should be in 2005, but then some meetings were held - some ignoring the FIA - and Ferrari was not invited.

"If we don't want Formula One to die, we have to reduce costs but not only by identifying for the top teams some less costs on testing. We know very well (anyway) that nothing can be implemented without the FIA."

Teams have been calling for cost-cutting measures for some time and their demands came to a head when commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone threatened to scrap the British Grand Prix.

Ecclestone has introduced the Bahrain and Chinese Grands Prix to the calendar this year and with Turkey coming in next season the Silverstone race has been bumped down to the 19th slot on the calendar.

It is understood that the testing proposal was put forward, and signed by all nine teams including Ferrari's close allies Sauber, in a bid to reduce costs so that teams could cope with a lower extra payment for a 19th race.

But Todt said: "They were talking that they were prepared to do 19 Grands Prix. Ferrari is prepared to do 19 Grands Prix. We simply want to know what are the rules of the game.

"We have an agreement with the Concorde Agreement for 17 Grands Prix. Each Grand Prix over 17 needs unanimous agreement as was the case this year for the Canadian Grand Prix.

"It was a long discussion, which was the 18th Grand Prix - was it France? - and finally it was decided it was Canada. So each team got a percentage out of the money that was paid to the promoter of the FIA Championship.

"How would the money be distributed for those 18/19 Grands Prix? Who are number 18 and number 19? Nobody knows. The 18/19 in my opinion should be Turkey and China because they are the last two.

"That is a big difference because their financial commitment is completely different from France and UK. So how can I comment on something when nobody knows what they are talking about?"

Todt was also critical of the team chiefs who signed the document without knowing how next year's Grand Prix weekends will work after a sudden change to the format was agreed for 2005.

A new two-race engine format will be introduced and the Ferrari boss believes it is not clear whether teams will be allowed to use a different engine on Friday to the engine they qualify and race with on Saturday and Sunday.

"The people who signed are not able to say whether it's the same engine on Friday or you change the engine on Friday," said Todt. "If it's the same engine two whole Grand Prix weekends then by reducing testing you will reduce costs.

"But on Saturday morning, then, nobody will come out of the garage so you will have Saturday morning where everybody will be waiting because everybody will have worked on Friday.

"With the new rules you will only do the qualifying lap so you will have spectators coming on Saturday for one lap and on Sunday it will be one more lap and the race and people will complain there is not enough show in Formula One.

"If you decide that Friday is with different engines the strong teams will come with their test teams, cars, engines, a lot of expenses, then change the engine for Saturday and Sunday. There is a big difference."

Instead, Todt believes the biggest cost reductions are to be found by scrapping electronic driver aids such as traction control by introducing a standard electronic control unit (ECU).

That would prevent teams spending millions on developing smart electronics and would give the added bonus of making driver skill a greater factor in the results of races.

"In Formula One the drivers, who have the best skill ever, don't need to have such great assistance," said Todt. "We are in favour of talking about ECU, standard ECU, where it will really be a big drop [in costs].

"Do we need traction control? I'm not sure you need traction control to improve the show in Formula One. Do we need to have cars where you have to spend a huge amount of money to find ballast? Why do you have to find ballast?

"You make the lightest car possible ever, but then you put the car under the weight limit. I have been talking with [technical director] Ross Brawn and our top engineers because we need to make a sensible proposal."

shares
comments
Gascoyne: We need to deliver
Previous article

Gascoyne: We need to deliver

Next article

Dennis pays tribute to DC

Dennis pays tribute to DC
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021